Center for Gender Economics in Africa (CGE Africa), has urged the media to intensify efforts in mainstreaming gender issues, especially as they affect Nigerian women.
According to CGE Africa, women and media are among the 12 critical Areas in the Beijing Platform for Action in promoting gender equality (women, men, girls, and boys).
Executive Director, CGE Africa, Uchenna Idoko, during a media roundtable with journalists in Lagos on Friday March 31, 2023, noted that women had for ages faced various forms of discrimination and violation of their rights. Idoko said the issues were exacerbated by poverty, lack of enlightenment and access to legal protection.
The event was part of activities by CGE Africa to mark International Women’s Day 2023.
Gender issues in Nigeria
Mrs Idoko, a gender expert, stated that violation of women’s rights cut through different age groups, adding that the psycho-social effects could last till old age. Idoko, who disclosed that her organisation was currently working on a project to promote socio-economic inclusion of elderly women through well-being parties in some Lagos communities, said: “Older women are especially vulnerable to abuse and violate because of discriminatory societal attitudes and the non-realization of human rights. This is often exacerbated by poverty and lack of access to legal protection. In some parts of Nigeria, harmful traditional practices result in the abuse and violence of older women.”
She called on the Federal Government to step up efforts at addressing gender inequality, by ensuring effectively empowering women.
Speaking on the theme: ‘Innovation for Gender and Age-responsive Media Reporting in the Digital Era’, Idoko noted that the media had the power and responsibility to challenge and change certain public perceptions, behaviour and policies that affect the status and rights of women in Nigeria, as well as to address negative and degrading images of women projected through media contents, including advertisements in the digital space.
Speaking on cases of gender-based violence (GBV), the CGE Africa Executive Director stated that they are highly under-reported in Nigeria and urged the media not to see it anymore as a personal issue not meant to be discussed in public.
On the persisting gender issues in Nigeria, she maintained that, by reporting cases of GBV and prosecuting offenders, people would become aware of the consequences of their actions and take necessary precautions.
“One of the challenges of tackling GBV in Nigeria is that it tends to be considered a personal issue not meant to be discussed in public. However, provided that GBV is a result of gender inequality, it is vital that the media play its role in bringing it to public attention and seeking political solutions,” she stated.
She equally lamented that Nigeria’s judicial system most times made it almost impossible for women to have access to justice, and called on the authorities to see the need to change the status quo.